Top 5 Female Leads

This list is for the monster-slaying, galaxy-saving women we love.

By OnMercury, Posted 09 Apr 2012

Video games started as being for the boys, and that perception has held up even today. In a list of the best female characters in gaming, you're most likely to find out whether Lara Croft is hotter than Ivy Valentine. That sucks, when you take into account that some of the best-written, ass-kicking-est protagonists in gaming are women. You won't find any damsels in distress or overt eye candy here, folks. Nope, this list is for the monster-slaying, galaxy-saving women we love.

(Be warned: There are spoilers ahead.)

5. Commander Shepard

Top 5 Female Leads, Commander Shepard, Jade, Samus, Heather Mason, Chell

At the risk of aggravating fanboys everywhere, let's get this out of the way right now: The female Shepard (FemShep, if it suits you) is not the true Shepard. There is no true Shepard, and there never was one. But that's part of what makes Shepard so awesome. S/he is whatever you want. But we're talking about FemShep here, so let's move on.When Shepard learns that a sentient race of machines plans to destroy all organic life, she decides that she'd rather they didn't.

Over the next several years, Shepard saves the galaxy three times over, usually by shooting the ever-loving crap out of anyone crazy enough to get in her way. Seriously, how many wannabe hotshot mercenaries challenged Shepard and were subsequently killed? It's as if they haven't heard of her.

4. Jade

Top 5 Female Leads, Commander Shepard, Jade, Samus, Heather Mason, Chell

Jade is one of a few great photojournalists in gaming. When she learns of a conspiracy between the militaristic (but supposedly benevolent) Alpha Sections and the invading DomZ, she decides to expose the truth to the people of Hillys. As her evidence becomes more damning, the population begins to turn against the Alpha Sections, ultimately rebelling and defeating the DomZ. What starts as a search for answers becomes a deeply personal journey as Jade fights to save those she loves.

Jade isn't your typical action heroine. Sure, she can kick ass when she needs to, but she's better at thinking on her feet to overcome obstacles and elude enemies. And that's great; Beyond Good & Evil had excellent stealth and puzzle-solving elements.

3. Samus

Top 5 Female Leads, Commander Shepard, Jade, Samus, Heather Mason, Chell

Aran If anyone's surprised at the inclusion of Nintendo's badass bounty hunter, you should be ashamed. Samus has kicked nearly every ass in the galaxy (some of them several times). Sure, Other M tried its damnedest to crucify her character by turning into and let's be fair here a submissive whinebag with serious daddy issues. But let's not pretend that's undone more than 20 years of badassery.

Despite the fact that Samus being a woman was added to the original Metroid as an afterthought, many gamers consider it one of the most pivotal moments in the medium. Developers have, for the most part, managed to avoid objectifying Samus except for that bright blue catsuit.

2. Heather Mason

Top 5 Female Leads, Commander Shepard, Jade, Samus, Heather Mason, Chell

A normal teenage girl thrust into horrific circumstances, Heather braves the twisted hell of Silent Hill, Maine, to solve the mystery behind her father's killer. In true Silent Hill fashion, things soon get a tad demented. Heather is trapped in a nightmarish parallel reality populated by hideous monsters from the darkest recesses of her mind. And then there's the unplanned pregnancy yeah, she's carrying the evil God of Silent Hill's fetus.

But she seems to take it all in stride. She adjusts to Silent Hill more quickly than other series leads. What sets Heather apart from her male counterparts is her attitude. While she's clearly afraid of the horrors that plague her, Heather manages a lot of gutsy, smartass remarks; most are aimed at other characters, but some even mock the player.

1. Chell

Top 5 Female Leads, Commander Shepard, Jade, Samus, Heather Mason, Chell

We don't know much about Chell's past, other than her being in the wrong place at the wrong time when the computerized caretaker (GLaDOS) locked down the Aperture Science facility. What we do know is that she's both very clever and very stubborn, much to the chagrin of the murderous AI. GLaDOS spends much of Portal taunting Chell through increasingly devious puzzles, which might actually serve to further motivate the test subject.

We rarely see Chell. We never hear her. But, like a certain other Valve game, we don't need to. We know she's smart, tough and resourceful by what she accomplishes. We know that she wants freedom, and how badly she wants it, by the lengths she goes to in order to escape from GLaDOS. Without a single line of dialogue, we know everything we need to about who Chell is. Valve has silent protagonists down to an art, and Chell is the perfect example of why.

Aaron Kinney, NoobFeed (Twitter)

comments powered by Disqus

  • Cool list. I am really glad Heather is on there. She is definitely one of my favorite characters and not just in Silent Hill. I would have had to put Claire Redfield and Lightning on there, but I don't know if they would count as leads per se. Samus Aran is an all time favorite as well.

    Posted Apr 09, 2012

  • Excellent list indeed. Samus and Chell are my kinda women :P

    Posted Apr 09, 2012

  • Jade, Lucy Kuo,and Samus are one of my top favorite female characters. But Tifa Lockheart will always be number one in my eyes. 

    Posted Apr 10, 2012

  • I agree with the list except I'd like to see Faith from Mirror's Edge instead of Jade at #4.

    Posted Apr 10, 2012

Related Feature

  • 0

    Top V Xbox 360 Games

    By Grayshadow, Posted Apr 21, 2016

    oday Microsoft confirmed that they would cease all production for the Xbox 360. After turning 10 years old last November millions of gamers have enjoyed the many titles and service


General Information

Mass Effect 2


Platform(s): Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Publisher(s): Electronic Arts
Developer(s): BioWare
Genres: First-Person Shooter
Themes: Role-Playing
Release Date: 2010-01-26

View All

Popular Articles